Valentine’s Day is a funny day for me. Lot’s of people come up to me or to Tara and want to know what we did to celebrate. After all – we are the quintessential, happily married couple, right?
It’s funny, most years we don’t do anything to recognize this particular “holiday”. Okay, yesterday I was at Costco and saw lots of guys carrying out flowers, so I felt a little guilty – I bought Tara a dozen roses. I gave them to her when I got home – she looked a little surprised, but was appreciative.
My act initiated an interesting conversation between the two of us. It’s almost as if this “Hallmark created holiday” is used to guilt people into showing love for their spouse. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge believer in buying flowers for Tara or showing her my love in a variety of other ways. But somehow buying (over priced) flowers on this day seems to almost diminish that.
As I think about all of those guys buying flowers at Costco yesterday, I wonder – how many of them are in good marriages? How many of them think they would be in trouble with their wives if they didn’t buy them flowers? I personally know of several dysfunctional couples (e.g. the classic living as roommates) that still exchange gifts on this day. Today they’re all lovey-dovey, but tomorrow they will slip back into their routine of taking each other for granted.
Eons ago when I was dating Tara, Valentine’s Day was a big deal to me. I was in the selling mode. I wanted to win her over by wooing her every opportunity that I had. Fast forward nearly forty years… I still try to woo her, but I have learned from experience that an unexpected bouquet on a random Tuesday evening makes a much larger impression on her than the obligatory flowers in mid-February. Showing her that I love her by speaking her love language on an ongoing basis has a much bigger (and more lasting) effect than fighting the crowds on this day to a restaurant.
Please don’t misinterpret me. I am still a hopeless romantic, but I want Tara to know that the love I express to her comes from my heart, and not just from the calendar. The key is to meet your spouse’s needs where they are. If they would be hurt if you didn’t recognize Valentine’s Day, then by all means celebrate it! But don’t limit yourself on expressing your love. Keep the fires burning year round by being spontaneous and unexpected.